Multiple Searches – Exclusivity – ” Do You Make A Deal?”

Many search firms across the country are now hiring additional recruiters. Inevitably one of your “rookies” will be thrilled they just obtained twenty searches from the same client and they have an exclusive. Before they take a breath – they now ask the dreaded question, “What kind of a deal can I give them, for all this business?”

There are several issues with this scenario. First of all, you need to research why this client has so many open positions? Unless this client is experiencing tremendous growth, this could be a red flag indicating turnover, inability to attract candidates, or other non-desirable issues. You also need to find out how “long” these positions have been vacant.

Next, I don’t believe exclusivity exists. Call me a cynic after thirty years of recruiting, but I don’t believe for a minute this client is giving you exclusive searches. I’ve personally placed candidates in positions, where the client had already paid 2/3 of a retained search, which is the closest you come to exclusivity. They hired my candidates because they were the perfect match!

Think about this for a moment … this client has twenty positions to fill and is being pressured to fill them.? It’s just not a smart business decision to give one recruiter an exclusive. If another recruiter called this client marketing a candidate who was a perfect fit, do you think for one minute the employer would NOT schedule the interview? Of course they would see the person from the other source, without hesitation!

The other issue here is the time you would spend, focused on this one client. It is a smart guideline, to never allow one client to make up more than 25% of your personal activity. If one of your clients puts their searches on hold, there is still much activity that can assure you hit your production goals. Many experienced recruiters had a difficult time during the past few years because they had stopped marketing for new clients. They had a few clients that gave them all the searches they could handle. When these clients stopped hiring, the recruiter had to rebuild their client base from scratch, which is no easy task.

In a candidate-driven market you need to represent the “hot” companies in your area of specialization. If you want to identify those companies, just ask every candidate you interview to list the five companies they feel have the best reputations. This is very different from focusing the majority of your efforts on one client with multiple positions.

Lastly, and most important, I want to address the question of reducing your fee for “all this business.” My definition of business is placements, not search assignments. If you want to offer a discount, offer a discount on multiple HIRES not multiple searches.

Example: You might offer a $3,000 discount on every third hire. It is easier for your client to understand a flat dollar amount vs. a percentage discount, and it actually appears you are offering more.

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There is one more issue with this type of scenario that you need to consider. A company might give you multiple search assignments, to prevent you from recruiting out of their company. If you have worked with a company for a period of time, sent top talent and not achieved hires, this is not a client. Clients are companies who trust you to identify top talent and they hire from you!

It goes back to the old adage … “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”

I’m not suggesting you don’t work with this client. Just be realistic with your expectations and don’t let this one client monopolize the majority of your recruiting time.

Finally, only offer discounts for multiple HIRES. We provide an extremely valuable service, top talent is difficult to find and you should focus your efforts where you can gain the greatest return. You’re worth it!

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


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